After nearly 700 days, Western Australia has opened its borders

Returning international passengers are greeted on arrival at the Perth International Airport Terminal on March 3, 2022 in Perth, Australia.

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Meanwhile in Australia, Four Seasons Melbourne is set to open in a skyscraper complex featuring the world’s tallest vertical garden. Imagine a garden path twice as long as New York’s High Line meandering up the facades of two twisting towers.

Here’s what’s been happening in travel this week.

Reopenings and rule changes

In some happy news, families and loved ones were reunited in Western Australia on March 3, after the state reopened to both domestic and international visitors after a long 697 days of isolation.

Fans of paradise islands will be pleased to hear that Hawaii is lifting some Covid-19 restrictions for domestic travelers later this month, and Bali is about to trial quarantine-free arrivals.

An aerial view from the window of a plane shows Diamond Head crater in Oahu. Hawaii is lifting some Covid restrictions later this month.

Israel is now open to unvaccinated tourists and Bahrain has dropped all testing, vaccination and quarantine requirements for entry – although Covid-19 measures are still in place.

And in what amounts to a little bit of a slowdown after the Omicron variant spiked around the globe, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added only one new destination to it its highest-risk category for travel.

World responds to war in Ukraine

The US, Canada, the EU and the UK, among others, have all banned Russian aircraft from their airspaces and Russia has reciprocated the bans – except for the United States.

There are now large no-go areas in the sky and it could have major implications for passengers and the travel industry.

Cruise lines, tour operators and other travel operations have joined in the global protest by canceling Russian tours, among other measures. And Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, will be finding it harder to sell seats, after being dropped on Thursday from major global distribution systems.

The world’s largest airplane, the Antonov An-225 – a mammoth cargo plane that’s acquired iconic status in the aviation world – has been destroyed in the conflict, according to Ukrainian officials.

An American basketball player stranded in Ukraine traveled 5,000 miles to make it home. Meanwhile actor Sean Penn, in the country for a documentary, says he crossed the border into Poland on foot.

Nature marches on

One of the world’s longest animal migrations is the 1,000-kilometer trek made each year by thousands of zebras across the salt pans of Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park. Our writer went along to see it.

From Africa over to North America, where Yellowstone National Park – which sits atop a supervolcano, don’t you know – is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. We look back at the history of one of the United States’ most loved destinations.

Culture in danger

The World Monuments Fund has released its list of culturally significant but endangered heritage sites.

New additions include an English castle damaged by storms, the Maldives’ Koagannu mosques and cemetery which are threatened by rising sea levels, and the historic city center of Benghazi in Libya.

The future of India’s railways

India’s famous railways helped turn the country into the economic superpower it is today, but those trailblazing tracks are now getting outdated.

Its neighbor and economic rival China has been undergoing a high-speed rail revolution, with nearly 12,000 miles of lines completed in the last five years alone. Can India keep up?

And if you’d like to know more about India’s rich culture and incredible roadside restaurants, have a listen to Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown podcast: He visited Punjab back in 2014.

Unspoiled Italy

The Italian city of Urbino was a Renaissance powerhouse – and it’s barely changed since the 15th century. Here’s how this fairytale city stayed intact. For more about where to go in Italy, sign up for our Unlocking Italy newsletter.

In case you missed it

He came to her aid when she was vulnerable and lost in a strange land.

Now they’re best friends for life.

Trying new foods is one of the best things about travel.

Here’s how Filipinos do breakfast.

A pilot turned out to be twice the legal limit on a pre-flight Breathalyzer test.

An eagle-eyed security agent “noticed he may have been impaired.”

Get set, travel

They don’t call them red-eyes for nothing. If you have trouble dropping off to sleep on an overnight flight, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have put together this roundup of products to help ease your slumber. And during Sleep Week, March 13 through 19, check out other great gadgets for a good night’s rest in the CNN Underscored newsletter.

Top image: Returning international passengers are greeted on arrival at the Perth International Airport Terminal on March 3, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)